Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham pub bombing campaigner to stand for PCC

Julie Hambleton announcing her plan to stand
Image caption Julie Hambleton said her years spent campaigning had made her determined to "represent the people"

A woman whose sister was killed in the Birmingham pub bombings has launched a bid to become a police and crime commissioner.

Julie Hambleton has campaigned on behalf of victims' families since her sister Maxine died in the 1974 attacks.

She hopes to be elected as the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) at the polls next May.

Ms Hambleton said she would not be a "one issue candidate" but declined to confirm any policies.

She announced her intent to stand as an independent candidate at a pub in Great Barr, Birmingham.

Supporters of her pub bombings campaign, some of whom also lost relatives in the atrocity, were in attendance for her speech at the Drakes Drum.

"I will not be a one issue candidate, although it's obvious that victory will propel the Justice 4 the 21 campaign," said Ms Hambleton.

Image caption She would spend time speaking to communities if elected, said Ms Hambleton

Members of the public had told her they shared her concerns about law and order in general, feeling "shunned by those in authority" and unsafe, "even in their own homes," Ms Hambleton told supporters.

"The public believe the police, particularly senior officers, no longer see them or their concerns as a priority," she added.

Speaking to the BBC afterwards, she could not confirm her policies but stressed she would "represent the people".

"I can't tell you what any policies are until I would be, if I would be elected and the first thing I would do is to go out in to the community and listen and speak to everybody.

"I'm not part of the establishment and as such there's no one pulling my strings," she said.

Supporters hailed Ms Hambleton as "resilient" and "inspiring".

"She's got fight, she's got grit, she's determined... and she speaks common sense," said Grant Adams, of Coleshill car parts manufacturer Sertec, who donated £1,000 to her campaign.

Jurors concluded at an inquest in April there were no errors in the way police responded to an IRA warning call and their actions did not contribute to the deaths of 21 people in the 1974 bombings.

Six men who were wrongly convicted of planting the bombs were acquitted in 1991.

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected officials with the power to hire and fire chief constables and hold police forces to account.

A full list of West Midlands candidates for the 2020 election is yet to be announced.

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